Became a Regular Cast Member of the Chinese Reality Show Go Fighting!
Lay appeared in the Chinese variety show Go Fighting, The show involves doing missions, just like the South Korean show, Infinity Challenge. Lay, who was born with the name Zhang Yixing, was challenged to do romantic scene with actress Lin Chi Ling. The show was aired on SMG: Dragon Television. Some core fans were really envious seeing him faking a kissing scene on this episode, even though it didn’t show real kissing. He is also got challenged to sing opera. You can check out this funny video of Lay in Go Fighting, below!
Published Autobiography, Standing Firm At 24
In 2015, Lay wrote his autobiography, a compilation of 24 moments in his life. He talked about the journey with his 2008 debut with SM Entertainment, and about when he prepared his college entrance exam, among other topics. The book is titled Standing Firm at 24, and was published on September 18. Astoundingly, his autobiography sold 50 copies per second online, within the first 24 minutes, since there were also limited editions with Lay’s signature available. Based on TV records, Standing Firm at 24 sold 68,573 copies in 24 minutes. What a success! The book not only contains his memoirs, but also his personal thoughts and his experiences while engaging with EXO members. In one source, he was qoted as saying, “You only have one lifetime to do all the things you want. So don’t hesitate. Go. Chase your dreams.” From a source on Weibo, Lay also said, “I constantly receive letters from everyone. Consider this book as my reply to everyone’s letters, which is also written for myself who will turn 24 [soon]!”
Acting Debut in Ex-Files 2: The Backup Strikes Back
Lay, who is the lead dancer of EXO, also debuted as an actor in the movie The Backup Strikes Back. The movie is about a man who joined an audition competition, and later on he won. Lay had a supporting role, playing as Li Xiang He. This marked his first-ever experience as movie actor.
Made Small Screen Debut in the Chinese Drama To Be A Better Man
This would become Lay’s first acting role in a Chinese drama. He was confirmed to make a special appearance in this drama. The show is about a chef who accompanies his friend’s daughter back home and becomes a story about reconnecting with old loves and forming new relationships. On the poster for drama, Lay was wearing a leather jacket and holding two kinds of weapon. At the same time, Lay was also doing promotions back and forth between South Korea and China with EXO while he was working on this movie. Some sources said that he will portray a role that is very different from his own character in the stage. Surely, many fans couldn’t wait to see him act!
Solo Debut with What U Need?
In October, 2016, Zhang’s career as a solo singer began with the release of “What U Need?”, as a surprise gift for his fans on his birthday. The song hit the number four spot on the China V Chart and Billboard‘s World Digital Songs. He performed the song for the first time on October 10, at the 2016 Asia Song Festival in Busan, South Korea.
Released Debut EP Lose Control
On October 28, 2016, Lay released his debut extended play, Lose Control, which contains six tracks performed in Mandarin, and the music video. He was the producer for the album, and was in charge of the composition and arrangement, as well as writing the lyrics of every song. Lay performed “Lose Control” for the first time on the music program The Show, on November 15. He also worked on translating the lyrics into English, Korean and Japanese. “Lose Control” became the number one song on Billboard’s China V Chart for six weeks in a row. Furthermore, the pre orders for Lose Control surpassed 200,000 copies, and it hit number #1 on the Gaon Album Chart. It also reached #4 on Billboard’s US World Albums chart.
Made US Debut
Lay made his first US appearance at the music festival Lollapalooza, where he worked with Alan Walker. On August 30, Lay and Walker collaborated on a remixed version of Zhang’s previous single “Sheep”, titled “Sheep Relift”.
Lay in Idol Producer
In January, 2018, Lay was appointed as the presenter and production director for iQiyi’s hit talent-recruiting program, Idol Producer. The show was presented by Lay Zhang, with Li Ronghao, Jackson Wang, MC Jin, Cheng Xiao, and Zhou Jieqiong acting as coaches. The end goal of the program was to debut a group made up of the last nine contestants, named Nine Percent. This show is like Produce 101 in South Korea, in that rankings are determined by voting. Idol Producer (season 1) brought together 100 trainees who represented 31 companies, with many also being unsigned trainees. The trainees had a closed training session lasting for four months, and nine of those trainees were finally chosen to debut as a boy-group through audience’s vote.
Lay in 61st Annual Grammy Awards
On January 9, China Music Vision Ltd., the exclusive partner of Grammy Awards in China, announced that Lay attended both the red carpet and live ceremony of this year’s Grammy Awards. The 61st Grammy Awards took place on February 10, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and aired at 8 p.m. on CBS. Lay became the only artist who has received an invitation from China Music Vision and FM101 to attend the show. Moreover, Lay also became a promotion ambassador for GRAMMY Festival China in April, 2018.
Held His First International Concert Tour, Grand Line
In July, 2019, Lay held his first international concert tour, “Grand Line”. The tickets for the concert at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China, had sold out in eight seconds, while the stop in Nanjing, China, had its tickets sell out in twenty-five seconds. Amazing, isn’t it?